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Just How Good Is The Pixart 3366 Sensor?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
I recently have been very interested in the technology that goes into building mice and have been lurking the mouse subforum on this site for a long time. I've learned a lot of really cool things since I started, but there's still one question I have that remains unanswered. The Logitech G502 has a Pixart 3366 sensor in it, and it's being hailed as the (currently) best sensor on the market today. I remember seeing a Logitech rep post how it has no smoothing applied to it as well. Despite this, there are still folks who seem to prefer the feeling of my current mouse's sensor, the MLT04.

Basically what I want to know is how good the 3366 is compared to offerings considered to be the best you can get, such as the MLT04 and Avago 2020, as I've been trying to find information on what sensors are considered to be the most "1:1" or "raw," along with the least amount of smoothing/input lag. Does it just boil down to preference? Perhaps monitor lag also affect things?

Sorry for the potentially noob-y questions, I'd just like to learn a bit more about all this stuff. redface.gif

EDIT: I also heard something about how sensor placement and height can affect snappiness. Does this also apply to mousepad surface materials in terms of allowing for better tracking?
Edited by mrvirtualboy - 10/13/14 at 9:19pm
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post #2 of 56
To be honest?
It's simply a less raw (read: slightly more processed, but still otherwise just as accurate with NO SMOOTHING) version of the MLT04 (not hardware wise, but functionally), but without the primitive max perfect control speed and low acceleration (the MLT04 in this day and age is horrible for low sensitivity gamers in this era of gigantic monitors).

Remember when the upgraded version came out (the MLT04 used in the intellmouse 1.1a/explorer 3.0; the original version in the OLD intelimouse 1.0 optical had a VERY VERY low perfect control speed, meaning you could make it malfunction ON THE DESKTOP), we were using 800x600 resolutions when gaming in Quake, and at most, 1024x768 was considered the standard, so you could do wonders with these mice.

The only mice worth using since that time were the original (PLASMA/blue, not the original salamander red, although some may have been fixed) Razer Diamondbacks and the original Deathadders/3.5g's (at 1800 dpi). They both performed well, barring problems with cables breaking and buttons malfunctioning, although the original deathadder sucked for true accuracy until a prediction off firmware finally got released (took maybe 2 years (2008).

The original diamondback used a prerelease sensor that had a fatal hadware flaw of skipping a count on the first "right" pixel count (sort of fixed In a win32k.sys patch workaround). This was mostly fixed in the Plasma(limited edition) which used the release version of that sensor, but what no one ever told you was that the bug REOCCURED if the mouse was already on the pad when powering on the computer/OS; you would get the exact same bug until you lifted the mouse up and reset it. Even worse, if the sensor ever lost tracking strength temporarily and had to readjust itself, the bug could reoccur until you lifted the mouse up again.

The original Deathadder HAD THE SAME BUG.
The 3.5G and Black edition do not.

The 3366 feels like the old deathadders without the 3 CD liftoff distances and the QC problems, while having absolutely NO smoothing. LOD feels almost like a MLT04, but with a slightly less raw feeling sensor. It is worth noting that the 400 DPI MLT04 is FAR more accurate in single pixel movement transitions than either the Deathadder or G502 (3366) is at 400 DPI, because the MLT04 was hardware designed at 400 dpi. That's really the key point. When you have a sensor that is designed to work at 400 dpi, it's always going to perform better for pixel movements than a s3688/3988 deathadder or G502 running at 450 dpi. That's probably where your preference for MLT04 is coming from.

You can actually get a very interesting test by taking a Deathadder 3G, Deathadder Black Edition and a G502, all at 1800 DPI, and compare the response of single pixel movements left/right.

You'll notice that the Black Edition responds almost instantly--feeling a lot like a MLT04 would (assuming a MLT04 were capable of 1800 dpi). Both the G502 and 3G deathadder seem to require significantly more movement to get the pointer moving, in comparison. The G502 gets that type of responsiveness for single pixel movement when you set it to around 10,000 DPI (12k DPI is even more responsive than the black edition but is too much jitter, but the G502 at max DPI has the absolute fastest pixel left/right/up/down response time).

If I wanted to use 400 (450) dpi, I would only use a MLT04 or a Black edition DA; both the 1800 3G Deathadder and the G502 don't seem responsive enough at 450 DPI (the MLT04 is MUCH MUCH better here), almost feels like a R0ach "Swamp Cursor."
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post #3 of 56
Makes me wish I still had my Diamondback Plasma LE (lent it to a friend, and he moved house, left it in his garage, and rats chewed on the cord and mouse...) I remember loving that mouse when I used to play absurd amounts of Counter Strike back in the day (Sadly I no longer get into it much, the transition from CS:S to GO killed it for me a little bit).

But I am glad that I have a Deathadder with the 1800dpi sensor in it, and a few IE 3.0's with the MLT04 sensor left in my collection of mice (just put a whole bunch up for sale, need the money at the moment)...I just killed my 3366 sensor PCB attempting to frankenmouse it into a Logitech C.M.O (not entirely sure where I went wrong, but I fried a component on the PCB)...I never got to use it enough to differentiate it between the other sensors sadly...
    
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post #4 of 56
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the in-depth response. Really appreciate the amount of info provided. If you don't mind, I have a question regarding the pixel responsiveness of the G502. You mentioned that at 12K DPI, the 3366 is the most responsive of the mice you tested. So let's say I were to set the 3366 to 12K DPI and then set my in-game sensitivity in CS to some ridiculously low number via the console to compensate for it. Would that, in theory, be more responsive than the MLT04?
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post #5 of 56
Anything above 4000 DPI has jitter. I don't think any high DPI like this is really usuable. And using high settings like that and then reducing sensitivity will probably cause serious accuracy issues. Counts are dropped when you lower the sens, so that won't work, anyway. And I'm only talking about initial left/right pixel movements, not 'accuracy'. Both mice are fully accurate. But as far as how fast the pointer responds to the slightest pixel left/right movement (from stationary), the Black edition DA @ 1800 dpi == G502 @10,000 DPI

If you're trying to snipe something the size of a scout's head in TF2, at least at 1800 DPI, the deathadder Black Edition will probably work the best, but as long as you have a slick mouse pad, the G502 is fine too (just not with the default feet).
Edited by Falkentyne - 10/14/14 at 9:17pm
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post #6 of 56
i am not going to debate Falkentyne about the responsiveness relative to max dpi. But you should know that his belief is not widely held on these forums. In fact, in many times people experience the opposite where a mouse is more responsive at a lower dpi then a higher native dpi.

What is widely agreed upon by regular forum members is:
1. you do not need a high dpi to be pixel perfect accurate.
2. extremely minor decreases in responsiveness of some modern sensors, that most people don't even notice when they're looking for it, is primarily caused by smoothing. Smoothing is used in mice to reduce the jitter that naturally occurs at high dpi.
3. The 3366 has no smoothing, which means it has a very responsive sensor. The most responsive modern sensor. With an extremely high max speed and no speed related variance. The one downside is that above around 2,000dpi jitter is more of a problem with it then some modern sensors.

And i would like mention i have owned a g502 and i compared playing at 400 dpi to 8,000dpi and 12,000 dpi with drastically reduced sensitivities to get the same distance per 360; the mouse performs significantly better at 400 dpi then either other option.
Edited by Atavax - 10/14/14 at 9:40pm
post #7 of 56
Thread Starter 
Hm. You both seem pretty knowledgeable from my perspective. I've heard conflicting views about DPI related to precision and always wondered what specific things in a sensor could make it more precise than other sensors.

I assume you've compared the MLT04 and 3366 like Falkentyne has. If so, Which one feels more "raw" to you? Are there any sensors out there considered to be the most raw or precise, or are the MLT04 and 3366 basically the top-of-the-line?
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post #8 of 56
Theyre both great sensors.
And the issue that me and Atavax were talking about was a thread (which basically degenerated into a flame war) about mice responding instantly to an 'initial' movement to the sensor, which I tested extensively, because I had noticed a problem with ward pixel hunting when I switched from the Black Edition to the G502. After a lot of boring tests I basically found that the G502 and 3G Deathadder seem to require the same amount of initial movement for the cursor to respond (left/right) while the 3.5G (Black Edition) Deathadder requires significantly less movement--at the SAME DPI (1800). This was not debatable--anyone with the 3 different mice in front of them can test and come to my conclusion (Another poster agreed with me after testing it for himself). Which basically came to the point that all mice run at the exact same DPI may have a slightly different feel, especially on initial movement.

With my black edition and g502 side by side, I found that the G502 @ 10000 DPI has the same initial cursor reaction speed as the DABE @ 1800 dpi.

I no longer have a MLT04 (gave it away years ago) but I wish I could test how much deflection is required to get the initial sensor response at 400 DPI..I have a feeling it will be much faster than a DA/G502 @ 400/450.
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post #9 of 56
I have a question!
Whats the theoreticly highest cm/360 u can use with a MLT04?
40cm/360?
post #10 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Falkentyne View Post

Theyre both great sensors.
And the issue that me and Atavax were talking about was a thread (which basically degenerated into a flame war) about mice responding instantly to an 'initial' movement to the sensor, which I tested extensively, because I had noticed a problem with ward pixel hunting when I switched from the Black Edition to the G502. After a lot of boring tests I basically found that the G502 and 3G Deathadder seem to require the same amount of initial movement for the cursor to respond (left/right) while the 3.5G (Black Edition) Deathadder requires significantly less movement--at the SAME DPI (1800). This was not debatable--anyone with the 3 different mice in front of them can test and come to my conclusion (Another poster agreed with me after testing it for himself). Which basically came to the point that all mice run at the exact same DPI may have a slightly different feel, especially on initial movement.

With my black edition and g502 side by side, I found that the G502 @ 10000 DPI has the same initial cursor reaction speed as the DABE @ 1800 dpi.

I no longer have a MLT04 (gave it away years ago) but I wish I could test how much deflection is required to get the initial sensor response at 400 DPI..I have a feeling it will be much faster than a DA/G502 @ 400/450.

I see. Just out of curiosity, how did you perform the test?
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